Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that controls the glucose in the blood. It also regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein and promotes the absorption of glucose into the liver, fat, and skeletal muscle cells. Insulin helps the body use glucose as energy and then store the rest.
What Is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance is when the cells of the liver, muscle, and fat cannot use the glucose in the bloodstream to convert them into energy, hence your pancreas starts to secrete more insulin to compensate for this mishap, and over time the blood sugar levels go up.
Usually is it is difficult to check for insulin resistance with symptoms alone. Many a time you might have insulin resistance without any obvious symptoms. But some of the symptoms are a waistline above 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women, blood pressure over 130/80, a fasting glucose level over 100, or a fasting triglyceride level over 150, and HDL level under 40 in men and under 50 in women.
How to check insulin resistance?
To have an accurate picture of your blood glucose level and to check for insulin resistance a blood test is necessary. Blood tests can be done even without a doctor ordering for one. You can visit any lab and ask them to test your blood. They will draw your blood and test it giving you the report with a range for which each test. If your values fall below or higher than the given range then you can identify your glucose levels.
If you do visit a doctor then they will want to know your family’s medical history. They will weigh you and check your blood pressure. There are 3 types of blood tests for checking sugar levels in the blood. A fasting blood glucose test is done after you haven’t eaten or drank anything for a minimum of 8 hours. If the test shows a high level of glucose in the blood then your doctor might diagnose you with diabetes or prediabetes.
Fasting blood sugar levels under 100 is considered normal. Levels between 100 and 125 indicate prediabetes and a level greater than 126 indicates diabetes. A deviation of 3 is considered fine depending on the lab you are getting tested.
Another test is called Glucose tolerance testing also called the postprandial test. Here prior to the test your blood glucose level will be measured and then food or some sugary drink is given and your blood glucose level is checked again within 2 hours.
A blood sugar level <140 after 2 hours is normal. A level between 140 and 199 is considered prediabetes. A level above 200 is considered diabetes.
Another test that can be done is a random blood draw. When the glucose levels are checked randomly in the bloodstream. Haemoglobin A1c test shows your blood sugar level for the past 2-3 months and this again helps the doctor in diagnosing whether you have diabetes or are just prediabetes.
Insulin resistance can easily progress to type 2 diabetes if not taken care of. When you have insulin resistance your pancreas will resort to producing more insulin but over time it will not be able to keep up and your blood sugar level will start to rise because of this. When your pancreas stops producing insulin or very little insulin is produced and the glucose levels in your bloodstream are high then you might be diagnosed with diabetes and this is how insulin resistance progresses to type 2 diabetes.
A good way to prevent being prediabetes or diabetic for that matter is to exercise regularly. Eat a healthy and nutritious diet with lots of whole grains and fiber. If you are overweight or obese then the risk of developing insulin resistance becomes high. Losing the excess weight becomes necessary. Getting your blood tested regularly and checking for glucose levels should become the norm and should be done every year. Early detection and prevention are far better than curing it.
Insulin resistance if left untreated may lead to other severe complications like severe high blood sugar, severely low blood sugar, heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, cancer, etc.
Lacey Arlo is a wellness expert and a nutritionist who aims to help members with health and diet queries. Lacey Arlo has worked with junior, national, and Olympic-level athletes by providing them with customizing programmers, supplement strategies, and support during their travel and competition. From weight management, PCOD, thyroid-related weight loss, and nutrition for children to diets for pregnant and diets for senior citizens, She offers nutrition-aided solutions for different age groups with consideration for each person’s unique health demands.